In contrast to Frahm, Goold is a crank. He has a blog on which he has made pronouncements like “I don’t think any jazz artist of the last 30 years can hold a candle to Biggie Smalls.” When asked if that includes himself, he retreats a tad. “I think he’s great; [his music] has more in common with the kind of jazz I like.”
When not touring with Harry Connick Jr., a steady gig since 1990, Goold occasionally holds down the Saturday-evening slot at Smalls; like Harry, he’s a jazz classicist. “There’s an intangible beauty in music from the twenties to the forties,” he says. But there’s nothing stodgy about his playing; Goold’s music has great, darting movement and is full of breathless virtuosity. On his new disc, March of the Malcontents, his solos bristle like a lit fuse. And his qualms about jazz being fully eclipsed by hip-hop may be a front; Goold has employed his college-age son, Charles, as his drummer, paving the way for the next generation.